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Rust Vol. 1: A Visitor in the Field Hardcover – December 13, 2011
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Pursued by a massive robot, a boy flies his jet pack into the life of Roman Taylor, and, after a desperate battle to fell the automaton, Roman realizes that rebuilding and reprogramming the machine is the key to saving his failing farm. Meanwhile, young pilot Jet Jones is surely more than he appears, as he claims to have fought in a war between man and machine that ended decades ago. Though it takes place in “the present,” the World War I aesthetic of the flashbacks places it in a rural everywhen, and the sepia-toned art, with its pulp-inspired robots and jet packs and its modern faces and figures, effectively borrows from a century’s worth of influences. Roman’s struggle is sharply portrayed with minimal words, allowing the art to carry much of the emotion while delivering clear and thrilling action sequences. Though it feels like just the tip of a much larger story to come, it will be much enjoyed by readers of lyrical fantasy adventures like Matt Phelan’s The Storm in the Barn (2009). Grades 4-8. --Jesse Karp
About the Author
Royden was born at very young age on the Canadian prairies of Manitoba. He grew up the son of an oil painter and a farmer and he’s been drawing since he could hold a pencil. Royden failed his 12th grade Art class for drawing comics instead of assignments, and was kicked out of 10th grade Math for animating in the corner of his textbook. He now writes and illustrates childrens books and graphic novels while working full time as an animator in the Seattle games industry. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife, Ruth.
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This book is impressive! I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my Amazon box. The cover illustration is eye catching and fits perfectly with the hardbound wrappings and silver inlaid lettering. It's a hefty volume at almost 200 pages, printed on high quality matte paper.
I was hooked the moment I turned the first page. Royden Lepp's illustrations are sublime and were born to be colored in the sepia tone wash that runs through the book. The story flows beautifully with minimal dialog, it resonates deeply with nostalgia, fantasy, and mystery. As a reader you get the immediate feeling that you're just getting a glimpse of a much larger world steeped in history.The narrative is driven through succinct dialog and letters written to a father that's "away". It leaves you wondering if his son is sending the letters to a long dead father as therapy. The characters are multi-layered, yet, easily relatable. You can feel the artist's personality peeking through in the art and characters. I feel subtle influences of Calvin and Hobbes, The Iron Giant, The Flight Anthology, Blankets, and many other notable works.
Overall I'm very pleased and impressed. I'm eager and excited to share this with my young daughter when she grows old enough to appreciate it. I'll be on the hunt for Royden Lepp's children's books and eagerly awaiting the 2nd volume of Rust!
In the aftermath of a war involving humans and robots, Roman is a struggling farmer assisted by the mysterious, jetpacked Jet Jones. The story is nowhere near as sci-fi as the premise suggests; it is simple, offers the standard number of twists, and involves quality, meaningful characters. What really brings this story home is the unforgettable artwork.
Like the plot, the art is clear, simple, and the color palette strictly consists of earthly browns and yellows, appropriate for the farm lifestyle depicted. What makes it truly stand out is the beauty of the action choreography: blurred lines, fade effects, and easy readability truly makes for a movie-like experience. Each panel contains a distinct purpose, and the art's effective communication alternately means light dialogue, without sacrificing depth or comprehension.
But as outstanding as the story-telling may be, some of the figure drawings lack consistency, particularly with Roman. It can be overlooked, but it is a flaw that resonates in my mind.
The hardcover itself is beautiful: no dust-jacket, the silver lettering and cover illustrations printed directly on the cover, and thick, matte pages make this an admirable book prior to being read.
Unfortunately, 'Rust' is a series and NOT a standalone book. I couldn't hide my disappointment upon realizing this after flipping the final page, but it excites me to know there are more of these to come. Any and all fans of the comic-book medium should give Rust a chance, and then eagerly await the next book with the rest of us.
Worth it for the story, but skip the hardcover for the price and amount of content.